Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill is completing today his three-day visit to Armenia during which he and his Armenian counterpart accentuated the strong bonds between the two churches and peoples.
As part of the visit staged at the invitation of the Catholicos of All Armenians, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church took part in several events, including a visit to Russian soldiers’ memorial, a meeting with Armenia’s Orthodox faithful and honoring the 1915 Armenian Genocide victims at Tsitsernakaberd.
His Holiness Karekin II, and Patriarch Kirill signed an agreement for relationship and cooperation between the two cities of Vagarshapat (Etchmiadzin), Armenia, and Sergiyev Posad, Russia. The cities have been declared sister cities under the two patriarchs’ auspices.
Speaking about the spirit of Christian brotherhood and cooperation present in relations between the two churches, Catholicos Karekin II stressed the warm feelings of gratitude of Armenians towards “the Russian Church, the great Russian people and the state of Russia that for centuries have given a warm welcome to and shown fraternal care for numerous sons of Armenia who settled down within the borders of the Russian Federation.”
And Patriarch Kirill, for his part, acknowledged Armenia’s being one of the cradles of Christianity.
“Every visitor to Armenia receives unforgettable impressions, looking at its main symbol, the holy Mount Ararat on which forefather Noah’s ark came to rest after the Flood. And it is with trepidation that I feel that literally every rock and stone in this land is a mute witness to great and glorious deeds, feats and efforts that had a direct influence on the course of history of all mankind,” said Kirill.
On the first day of his visit, March 16, Patriarch Kirill also visited Oshakan where he laid a wreath to the memorial to Russian soldiers killed in the 1826-1828 Russo-Persian war.
On March 17, the two patriarchs laid wreaths at the Genocide Memorial and offered a joint service for the dead near the Eternal Flame. The same day, Patriarch Kirill visited the Russian church in Kanaker where he called on the faithful to support each other, preserving the faith, language and culture.
Catholicos Karekin II also made a speech at Kanaker. “The history of our peoples is a history of the triumph of faith. We suffered political defeats, but never have our peoples suffered the defeat of faith.”